Walk 178: The Parks & Woodlands of Corby

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 5 miles (8.05km)

Time to walk: Just a leisurely couple of hours

Difficulty: Very flat, easy walking on good surfaces

Parking: Public car parks in Corby town centre

Public toilets: Around the town centre

Map of the route: Please note this is a circular walk. The map app was started slightly late!

The one major town in Northamptonshire that hasn’t got a walk around it on my website is Corby. So with a mission to put that right “003.5” Richard Parkes was dispatched with a licence to walk

Corby sits in the north of the County, roughly 23 miles north-east of Northampton. The town was at one time known locally as “Little Scotland” due to the large number of Scottish workers who came to Corby for its steelworks

The village of Corby derives its name from Kori, the leader of Danish invaders who settled in a clearing in Rockingham Forest. It became known as ‘Kori’s by’ – ‘Kori’s settlement’

 The local area has been worked for iron ore since Roman times. An ironstone industry developed in the 19th century with the coming of the railways & the discovery of extensive ironstone beds. By 1910 an ironstone works had been established. In 1920s Corby was a small village with a population of around 1400 & famous for its Pole Fair, held every twenty years

It grew rapidly into a reasonably sized industrial town, when the owners of the ironstone works, the steel firm Stewarts & Lloyds, decided to build a large integrated ironstone & steel works on the site. The start of construction in 1934 drew workers from all over the country including many workers from the depressed west of Scotland & Irish labourers. The first steel was produced in October 1935 & for decades afterwards the steel works dominated the town. By 1939 the population had grown to around 12,000, at which time Corby was thought to be the largest “village” in the country, but it was at that point it was re-designated an urban district. In 1966 it had reached 43,000 & the growth still continues today with new housing growing ever closer to neighbouring villages

The Scottish heritage is cherished by many inhabitants. There are Scottish social & sporting clubs & many fervent supporters of Rangers & Celtic football clubs (indeed, Corby was home to the largest Rangers Supporters’ Club outside Glasgow & Northern Ireland until its closure in February 2013) as well as the Scottish National Team. An annual Highland Gathering featuring traditional Scottish sports, music & dancing is held in the town

Local legend states that Corby sees the highest sales of the Scottish soft drink Irn-Bru anywhere outside Scotland. Asda Corby is stated to sell 17 times more Irn-Bru than any other store in England

Richard says he’d never actually been to Corby & always thought it was a 1970’s style shopping area. (I know it well, having worked there between 1981 – 1985 at a time when the steel works were closing & the town & it’s people were facing great uncertainty. The one thing that always come through is the strong community of the local people & the resolve to regenerate)

This walk is designed so you can see the open green spaces the town has to offer so…

Let’s Walk!

1. This walk starts right in the middle of the town to give us an idea of how close the green spaces are. Park in the Shopping Centre car park & head up Elizabeth Street past the Wetherspoons pub, The Saxon Crown

The pub was once a showpiece department store of Kettering Co-operative Society, closing in 2007. The Society’s first branch here opened in Corby Village, in 1898

Where the pub gets name from is interesting…its website tells us that “Corby grew in significance when Saxon King Edgar established the administrative area known as the Corby Hundred. The coat of arms granted to Corby in 1959 is divided unto four quarters, each with a Saxon Crown, indicating the new town’s ancient origins

2. On reaching the British Heart Foundation shop, turn left into the heart of the shopping area…

…& continue straight through the middle of all the shops & over the zebra crossing

3. The building on the left’s the Corby Cube

The Core at Corby Cube consists of three spaces. The Theatre seats 445 people on three levels. The Lab is a studio space used for smaller productions & The Base is an underground workshop space

4. Pass the swimming pool complex on your right, which opening in July 2009 at a cost of £19 million

5. At the end…welcome to Central Park…not that Central Park, but Central Park Corby. Just before the park sign take the left turn & follow the path down to the road sign…

On reaching the road turn right & continue towards the roundabout

6. Look for the sign below to the boating lake & walk down the slope…

Corby Boating Lake was constructed in the early 70’s & is a lovely facility at the heart of the town. The lake can boasts a wide range of geese, ducks, water fowl & residential swans. A recent environmental project has improved fishing stocks & day tickets for fishing are available

7. At the bottom of the slope head right & follow the right-sided path around the lake…

Turn left past the front of the cafe – I stopped here for a toastie before heading further into the park

8. Continue along the path until just after the bench opposite it. Take the right-hand path which will take us past the car park

Cross the road immediately after the car park & keep walking towards the yellow railings in the distance…

9. At the sign to the park, take a left & cross over the bridge into the woods, keeping to the path ahead…

We’re actually following the ‘Orange walking trail’. You’ll see plenty of arrows as you walk so you know we are all going in the same direction. Just don’t take any paths left or right

10. At the very top of the woods turn left & continue into the woods…

…& don’t deviate from the path ahead

11. Eventually the path meets the junction in the picture below…

This really is a nice, peaceful, woodland area & it’s hard to remember we’re so close to the town

12. On reaching the road turn left. There’s no hard footpath along here so we’d recommend keeping on the grass. Head down to the very bottom & the main road

13. At the main road turn left & walk down to the bus stop in the picture below…

Just after the bus stop cross over the road down the path into the woods again

13. Continue straight through the woods to the next road…

At the road, turn right & walk down to the pedestrian crossing. Cross this & continue down Westwood Walk, keeping the woodlands on your left

14. The path now climbs a small hill…

…& now it’s time to leave the orange arrows as our path continues straight ahead

15. On reaching the road turn left. Shortly after the ‘Town Centre’ sign, cross the road & follow the path as it bends down the hill

The path bears round to the right…

16. Don’t cross the roads, but keep walking ahead to reach the zebra crossing…

Walk over the crossing & turn right, continuing in the same direction on the other side of the road

17. On reaching Colyers Avenue turn left…

Just after the play park, cross the road & enter Kings Wood Nature Reserve just after the sign (If it’s really muddy in the Reserve, you could just continue down Culvers Avenue to the end)

18. Follow the path straight ahead through the Reserve down to the bottom…

King’s Wood, where we’re now walking, was once part of the medieval Rockingham Forest & was managed to provide timber, plus shelter for the King’s deer. More than 250 species of plants have been found in the wood, together with a wide variety of birds including treecreepers, nuthatches, tawny owls & woodpeckers

19. On leaving the Reserve, cross the road & initially bear right. Then bear left across the grassy area to the road…

20. Once at the road turn left & continue in a straight direction, crossing all the junctions as this is the path that will lead us all the way back into town

21. On reaching a T junction, cross over & walk down Patrick Road on the left. For one night only we give you ‘Elvis’!

The road forks but continue down Patrick Road, passing the Resource Centre on your right

22. Just beside No.90 turn down Trinity Walk…

…& then turn left & walk up the road towards Lidl

23. On reaching the roundabout, cross at the lights on the left & then head left back to the car parks…

This completes our walk & I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Corby from a different side as much as I have

Go Walk!